Reading For Wednesday Ruth 3:1-18
Naomi takes the initiative and proposes a bold move. It seems that Naomi appears to feel an obligation to seek marriage for her daughter-in-law. Naomi knew that Boaz would be sifting out barley on the threshing floor that night and that he would probably sleep there to protect his crop from thieves. Naomi directed Ruth to wash, anoint herself with fragrant oils, and put on her best clothes. Ruth was instructed to go down to the threshing floor and conceal herself until after Boaz had finished his evening meal. After he had gone to sleep, Ruth was to uncover his feet and lie down. Boaz would tell her what she was to do next.
Naomi’s directions and Ruth’s willingness to comply must be assessed by the standards of the times in which those women lived. For her part, Naomi had confidence in the way her daughter-in-law had conducted herself. She knew that Boaz was deeply religious and would recognize that he was being encouraged ever so gently to perform his duty to his dead kinsman by marrying Ruth. Ruth trusted her mother-in-law’s judgment and believed she was fulfilling a duty of love to her dead husband by approaching Boaz to remind him of his obligations.
Ruth did exactly as Naomi had directed. From the shadows, Ruth watched him lie down at the end of the heap of grain, and she quietly approached him, uncovered his feet, and lay down. At midnight, Boaz discovered Ruth, but in the dark he did not recognize her. Ruth identified herself and asked that he spread his wings over her since he was a kinsman-redeemer. The reference here is to the placing of the corner of the garment over a maiden as a token of marriage. Boaz responded to the marriage proposal with a blessing on Ruth. Her desire to marry a kinsman of her dead husband was commendable, especially since Boaz was considerably older than Ruth. Boaz urged Ruth not to fear and assured her that he would do as she suggested. There was a problem because there was another redeemer who was closer than he and this anonymous relative would have to relinquish his legal rights to Ruth. If this nearer kinsman was unwilling to perform the function of the kinsman-redeemer, than Boaz assured Ruth by an oath that he would do it.Boaz bid Ruth remain on the threshing floor that night. Concern for Ruth’s reputation caused both to arise before sunrise and Boaz urged Ruth not to let it be known that she had been to the threshing floor. As an added precaution, Boaz measured out to Ruth six measures of barley so that if someone spotted her that morning it would appear that she had merely gotten an early start on the day’s work. Ruth departed for the city.
As Ruth approached the house, Naomi inquired as to whether or not the initiative had been successful. Naomi’s question meant are you one dishonored by rejection or one protected as a wife? Ruth then told her mother-in-law all that had taken place and the generous gift of the barley signaled Boaz’s favorable disposition toward the two women. Naomi counseled Ruth to be patient because she was confident that Boaz would not rest until he had settled the matter with the nearer kinsman.
Thing To Consider:
- How does taking initiative cooperate with faith?
- How does one determine if the initiative is selfish or wrongly motivated?
- How would this principle apply to marriage today?
- What role do responsibilities and obligations play in walking in obedience to the Lord?